LIMA — Three months into a long project, people can see the progress made on a road and bridge project on Lima's east side.
On Thursday, the Ohio Department of Transportation began work drilling shafts as part of the construction of the new bridge at the state Route 117/309 intersection with Interstate 75. Crews also continue working on the asphalt paving operations on state Route 117/309 east of the I-75 interchange.
Luke Johansen, lead project engineer for ODOT, sees the progress made and hopes to continue working on the roads at a steady pace.
“At the moment, I think we are a little bit behind time-wise with the weather we have had recently,” Johansen said. “We are starting to get back on track where we need to be, and we believe the roads and bridges are progressing well.”
One concern for the reconstruction is the flow of traffic during the Allen County Fair, one of the busiest times of the year in Allen County. Chris Hughes, ODOT project engineer, said the flow of traffic will not suffer as badly as some people might think during the fair.
“During fair time, there are going to be four lanes traveling both lanes, just like before, but without a middle lane,” Hughes said. “All the concerns for slowed traffic should not be warranted, and we believe the roads should be safe to travel on.”
Continual work on the highways means ODOT will have to reconstruct the path vehicles must travel in order to complete their tasks. Beginning Monday, traffic will travel four lanes going both east and west on 309 while work continues on the edges of the road. Traffic will then be condensed back for traffic heading west toward Willard Avenue, as cars will be connected back to two lanes by the highway.
Work on the bridge at the intersection is starting to move at a consistent pace, and ODOT is happy about where the bridge’s completion sits. Each corner of the bridge requires two to three weeks in order to complete the drilling, which leads to the pouring of cement on top of a layer of bedrock 30 feet down. This concrete, once solidified with the other consistencies, becomes the foundation for the bridge and allow the reconstruction on top to begin.
Johansen knows the time it will take to complete the reconstruction of the bridges is only a roadblock to new and improved bridges to travel on.
“With the spring and summer we have had, we are still shooting for November to be completed with the bridges,” Johansen said. “Things are progressing at a great pace, and everything will start to take shape in no time.”